Florida and New Hampshire don’t have much in common. I have lived for extended periods of time in both locations. But each place has a beauty which is uniquely their own.
Both states have beaches, although they are distinctly opposite. Warm water vs. icy cold; long stretches of smooth sand vs. one small area packed with so many people you can barely see the sand. Actually, I haven’t been to Hampton Beach, NH since I was a kid. But the ocean water in the north stays extremely cold even in mid-summer. I see no reason to venture near it! I’ve been spoiled by the tropical, sandy beaches.
Let’s talk home improvements. In Florida I had no time limits as to making home improvements. In NH we scramble to replace the roof and landscape the yard before it freezes and snows. Except for the afternoon thunderstorms in Florida, and the occasional threat of a hurricane, the weather was not much of a concern.
But in Florida I never felt safe, like I do living in my area of New Hampshire. In Florida I lived in a small town, but my neighbors house was broken into. Horrifying stories of kids being kidnapped made it hard to let my kids out of my sight. The doors of my home were always locked. And even when the car was in the driveway it remained locked. I had two Rottweilers in my fenced yard, and guns in the house. The news was full of frightening stories of home invasions and car jackings. However, unless you live in the state, that type of news never reaches far. Florida must be portrayed as a vacation paradise to all outsiders.
You may think that Florida would win as the best state for being outdoors often, but unless you can be near the water to cool off, the heat tends to keep you inside in the A/C. Many people who live in New Hampshire enjoy the winter as much as the summer. Summers are beautiful in the Northeast. Even when people here call it muggy, it’s really not bad. The lakes are pristine, the mountains can be hiked, and you just don’t have the crowds like in Florida. Winter means skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, and those are all popular activities. However, it takes money to enjoy them.
New Hampshire has beautiful hills and mountains but it’s not so over-populated that wildlife has nowhere to go. I’ve seen deer, bear, and foxes, (never seen a moose) but they don’t bother people. I enjoy walking in the woods, or along trails, and up mountains. In Florida I had to watch my every step in the wilderness. From stepping too near a poisonous snake, to running into a big banana spider web, the wilderness was far from inviting.
Another big difference is the cost of living. Property taxes are very high in NH because there is no state tax. The cost to heat my home in winter is astronomical. Then there are the snowplow bills, furnace cleaning and repair, cord wood delivery charge, wood stove yearly cleaning, and fixes after a bad winter. There is a lot more to take care of as a homeowner in the north. And there is a lot of strenuous work to do. I stack and lug my own firewood and build the fire. When a storm hits, I run the snowblower and shovel out the mailboxes and walkways.
I don’t make enough money to survive in New Hampshire. I plan to move back to Florida soon. My life has been hard in the north, but I did get to see part of this beautiful state. My sons and I rode the Cog Railway to the top of Mt. Washington. My family stayed at Lake Sunapee for a week one summer. I’ve been to Ruggles Mine on a school field trip, and climbed Pack Monadnock. I’ve visited many quaint towns and seen a lot of beautiful places, and quite honestly the north feels like home to me. But I can no longer afford to live here, so I’ll have to say good-bye.
Florida offers many beautiful sights as well, it’s just a different lifestyle, and everything you do means crowds of people. I do look forward to collecting seashells again, and being out on the water as often as possible. I will share new photos and stories on this blog, when I get settled into my old Florida life once again.